Dreams/Reality: Captain A and the Commercial Monsters

I have the pleasure of working with many talented people in my line of work. One of the most consistently original of these is surely Eoghan Holland, aka Captain A. Prolific and idiosyncratic, a slew of singularly experimental folk records have gained him something of a cult following over the past few years. In recent times, he has upped the ante, ‘gone electric’ and put together a fine band (‘The Commercial Monsters’), of which I am proud to be a regular contributor.

With a long list of collaborators and 4 years in the making, Dreams is his most ambitious and focused work to date, condensing his sometimes sprawling ideas into 9 succinct tracks. It deals in pop hooks, delivered with an engaging, slightly unhinged abandon, without sacrificing the roughly hewed experimentation that has made his name. It’s impressive not so much in its long list of collaborators (which is, incidentally, a who’s who of Irish indie artists, including Henry Girls and Spooks of the Thirteenth Lock) as for the inventive, richly textured and oft eccentric way main man Eoghan has captained them; even when he takes a back seat (which is frequently the case here), his guiding hand is always felt. As an insider, I know just how much time, energy and love has gone into making this. From my point of view, it’s a pleasure to have been involved. (Sorry for the bum notes).

And you can see and hear us play in the RCC, Letterkenny tomorrow night (22/05/15).

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Comrade Hat news

The EP that keeps on giving – Comrade Hat has been nominated by Pure M Magazine in the 2015 ‘Best Irish Act‘ category, while ‘One of Them‘ has been picked by James Hendicott as this month’s Irish entry in the Music Alliance Pact – a global collective of music blogs.

See also

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Connections 2015

Back in March I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with director Paul Brown and students from the North West Regional College, writing a soundtrack for their atmospheric video/dance piece Connections. You can now watch it on YouTube. [Produced by Tony Talbot; choreography by Carie-Logue Houston; full credits in video].

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New Sounds Interview

As promised, here is the interview I did with John Schaeffer for his New Sounds show on WNYC. It was an honour to get the opportunity, an even bigger surprise to make the ‘front cover’, as it were, with over a half hour interview and feature, including a broad selection of my music from the more atmospheric end of the spectrum.

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new music::new Ireland two/March roundup

Absolutely thrilled that one of the Walls of Sound tracks, (Bishop’s Gate to Ferryquay Gate) has been selected by the CMC for inclusion on the new compilation CD ‘new music::new Ireland two’. It’s quite an honour to be featured on such a prestigious release featuring a who’s who of Irish composers. It’s also nice to see Walls of Sound find a life outside of its original context.

It was launched by WNYC’s John Schaeffer, who also interviewed the various composers (including myself) for his show New Sounds, an honour in itself. It will be airing in the coming months – more information to follow.

In the meantime:

Listen here:


In other news, I’ve been very heartened by the response to the latest Comrade Hat release, ‘The Winter Takes it All – more on that here.

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I’ve updated my Soundcloud (the ‘Neil Burns’ one) to include the ‘Mood Music’ compilation I realised just over a year ago, so it now serves as a useful introduction to my (experimental/ambient) music. Feel free to follow if you’re into that. I will endeavour to keep it up to date with any new releases!

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New Comrade Hat

Comrade Hat

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